A slimmer, yet more prestigious Festival, with a competition of (only) high quality world premieres that looks to the future without forgetting its impressive past and is not afraid of turning away the multitude of Italian companies knocking at its door.
This is basically the spirit behind the 69th Venice International Film Festival to be staged in the “Palazzo del Cinema” and adjacent former Casino which have been renovated and modernized for the occasion, while work is being completed on the so-called “Palazzetto del Cinema” in the former Giardini area, that will join the existing buildings (now that the plans for a sumptuous “Palazzo del Cinema” have finally been shelved and the symbol of that project – the gaping hole in front of the Casino – has been filled in and tarred over).
Let’s take a look at the line-up.
Alberto Barbera’s Festival will attempt to escape from the jaws of gigantism: the official Selection contains 50 movies, all world premieres, divided between the Competition section (17 titles plus one, the inevitable last minute surprise), the Out of Competition section (15 drama features and 9 documentaries) and the “Orizzonti” section (18 features and 15 shorts).
The Festival opens on August 29th with former Golden Lion Mira Nair’s “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” and the documentary “Enzo Avitabile Music Life” by Jonathan Demme, and ends on September 8th with “L’homme qui rit” by Jean-Pierre Améris, starring Gérard Depardieu and Emmanuelle Seigner, all three of which are out of competition.
In between, there will be a procession of films by leading directors such as Brian De Palma (“Passion”), Kim Ki-duc (“Pieta”), Xavier Giannoli (“Superstar”), Takeshi Kitano (“Outrage Beyond”), Terrence Malick (“To the Wonder”), Valeria Sarmiento (“Linhas de Wellington”), Olivier Assayas (“Après Mai (Something in the Air)”) in Competition, and Susanne Bier, Pascale Bonitzer, Amos Gitai, Spike Lee, De Oliveira and Redford in an out of competition section characterized by a high number of documentaries. 41 countries will be represented with a good but not excessive number of US companies providing a reasonable number of stars for the red carpet, greater numbers from France (due to the many co-productions it is involved in), and a better showing of Italians than expected, although the numbers are lower than in the past.
They will be presenting the standard three movies in Competition: the long-awaited “Bella Addormentata “ by Marco Bellocchio (controversy alert!), “Un giorno speciale” by Francesca Comencini and “È stato il figlio” by Daniele Ciprì.
Out of Competition, the Italians will make up the hard core of the special events with their documentaries: Cavani (“Clarisse”), Giralducci-Ricciardi (“Sfiorando il muro”), Mazzacurati (“Medici con l’Africa”) and Vicari (“La nave dolce”).
The same goes for the movies in the “Orizzonti” section, almost all of which, this year, it will be possible to pay to view simultaneously online: De Matteo (“Gli equilibristi”), Mereu (“Bellas Mariposas”) and the international co-productions “L’intervallo” by Di Costanzo and “Low Tide” by Minervini, with Giannone and Sironi featuring amongst the shorts directors.
The Festival line-up will be completed by an interesting retrospective celebrating 80 years of the Venice Festival (1932-2012), with 10 restored movies from the archives of the Biennale Cinema, around twenty masterpieces from the past at Venezia Classici and the main event, Cimino’s “Heaven’s Gate”.
With regard to the future of cinema, the Biennale College project will be launched during the Festival, a laboratory open to young filmmakers from all over the world that aims to realize low cost movies, with the objective of generating 3 works to be screened at the next edition of the Festival.
We should also mention the other selections that will be presented alongside and outside the Festival: the International Critics’ Week and the Giornate degli Autori-Venice Days.
In accordance with tradition the former will feature 7 movies, all of which are world premieres: due to space limitations, we will just mention “La città ideale”, the debut work by Luigi Lo Cascio, the “Water” events, a Palestinian-Israeli collective work, and “Kiss of the Damned” by Alexandra “Xan” Cassavetes, daughter of John and Gena Rowlands, and sister of Nick.
As usual, Venice Days will have a packed program to which new titles are constantly being added.
The latest arrival is “Pinocchio” by D’Alò, the opening movie, featuring drawings by Mattotti and music by Dalla.
There will be lots of Italians at the Pagoda (the venue for Venice Days): all the Special Events movies and all of Venice Nights. There will also be a couple of movies in the Official Section (“Il gemello” by Marra and “Acciaio” by Mordini). Another feature worth mentioning is the sub-section entitled “Women’s Tale”: 5 movies which will give a voice to the other half of the world.